The Sun has issued an apology and agreed to pay damages to Italian footballer Marco Materazzi over claims he racially abused an opponent in the 2006 World Cup final.
The paper published a series of prominent articles in July 2006 after French footballer Zinedine Zidane was sent off in the dying minutes of the game for headbutting the Inter Milan star.
According to Materazzi’s lawyers, the paper wrongly claimed Materazzi had called Zidane “the son of a terrorist whore”. Zidane’s parents are Algerian.
Steven Heffer from Collyer Bristow said: “The Sun newspaper have now withdrawn the allegations made against Marco and accept that he did not say anything of a racist nature to Zidane. The Sun has agreed to pay my client damages.”
The Sun apology reads: “In several prominent articles in July 2006, we wrongly stated that during the World Cup final the Italian defender, Marco Materazzi, used vile racist abuse by calling Zinedine Zidane the son of a terrorist whore thus goading Zidane into angrily head butting him.
“We also said that Mr Materazzi was a hypocritical liar when he denied it and was rightly condemned for what he said.
“We withdraw these allegations and accept that Mr Materazzi did not say anything of a racist nature.
“We apologise to Mr Materazzi for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages.”
This is the second time Materazzi has successfully sued a British newspaper over reports from the World Cup final. In April, the Daily Star apologised for making similar claims.
Materazzi is also suing the Daily Mail. Proceedings in that case are still ongoing.